Customer expectations have big implications for insurers

Mike Dwyer, CTO and executive vice president, Engineering at EIS Group discusses how the digitisation of the everyday has specific digital strategy and technology implications for insurers

By Guest on 17 January 2018
Customer expectations have big implications for insurers

This article first appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of The Record.

As insurers strive to thrive in an increasingly digital marketplace, it is understood that excellent customer service is no longer a standout, but a standard. The digitalisation of the everyday – by Uber, Amazon, Yelp and many others – is something customers are acutely aware of. It isn’t a bonus feature; it’s an expectation. It also has specific digital strategy and technology implications for insurers.

Firstly, customers want to be more than an account or policy number. Having the content that they access – and the where, when and how they access it – customised to them, optimises their experience and builds brand loyalty. Establishing a true omni-channel environment is the way to provide customers the real-time, on-demand servicing they crave. So too is leveraging customer insights to offer products and services aligned specifically to their lifecycle and preferences.

Going digital is an organisation-wide focus from the customer-facing front-end, to the backend of ‘paperwork’ processing. Yet, insurers are often faced with a spaghetti of separate systems. For digital to succeed, the second implication is that it has to be a silo-free operation. Those insurers who are digital leaders have a common trait: solid mid/back office alignment to customer needs.

Thirdly, because customer expectations are rising and continue to shift, the underlying core systems – for rating, policy admin, billing, claims – must also be able to flex. A request for a single bill for a multi-policy household, or telematics-based coverage for a new driver, or starting a claim by talking into a mobile phone, are all things insureds may want now, but that legacy systems may not support. The failing thus far has been in trying to layer technology on top of existing core systems that are not built for modern digital interactions. All this does is add complexity.

Finally, insurers must establish digital experience platforms that not only support the demands of today’s digital world but also support new engagements as emerging technologies and the connected world advance. These include short-term or event-based coverages, risk prevention and concierge services. And they will leverage artificial intelligence for zero-data-entry interactions and machine learning for pitch-perfect, personalised underwriting and value-add offers. The digital experience platform must be able to integrate data and emerging technologies in innovative ways to change the insurance value chain.

Insurers can take advantage of a maturing technology landscape. Rather than cobbling disparate tech solutions together, new, integrated, cloud-based platforms can unify core interactions with insights and create and deliver personalised digital experiences in real time or close to real time.

Mike Dwyer is CTO and executive vice president, Engineering at EIS Group

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